I can get lost in the soft perfection of a baby’s hand. Those teeny pink fingernails. Those dimply knuckles. Those lusciously rolly-polly wrists.
I remember watching in fascination as my baby discovered for the first time that he could control his hands. It was revolutionary! He started using them as tools to explore the world around him (and he stopped accidentally hitting himself in the face, as newborns do).
I love the way Ecclesiastes 4:5-6 talks about hands. Even as adults we’re still learning how to use our hands, it seems!
At times in my life I’ve been driven by all-consuming ambition: envisioning my ideal life and working really hard to get it.
The problem is, I never stayed satisfied for long. Once I reached one summit, I’d find another (taller) mountain to climb. I filled my life with much more busyness than was necessary.
It really was like “chasing after the wind” — doggedly pursuing my goals but never experiencing a lasting sense of completeness.
The writer of Ecclesiastes suggests a better way: “one handful with tranquility”.
For me, this means being happy in our small apartment. It means enjoying the one handful that I do have: Warm winter sunshine in our little living room. Two kids who know how to cooperate because they have to share a bedroom.
It means letting my other hand stay empty — not wishing and striving and toiling for the dream of a bigger home. It means letting go because working harder would make my health plummet, and not only would I suffer but my husband and kids would also suffer as a result.
What does “one handful with tranquility” look like for you?
Lord, some of us are exhausting ourselves with overwork, chasing after an elusive ideal future. Please help us to discover the treasure of contentment. May we learn to embrace the incompleteness of today. May we find lasting satisfaction as we search for completeness in Christ alone, whether we’re living with plenty or little. Amen.
“I have learned how to be content with whatever I have… whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Phil 4:11-13 NLT)